Maryland volleyball was swept off of the Covelli Center floor Saturday evening, dropping its third straight conference match to No. 8 Ohio State on the road in Columbus, Ohio.
The Terps’ loss was the final leg of a brutal four-game stretch for coach Adam Hughes’ squad, which faced four top 25 teams in just eight days to kick off their Big Ten slate for the fall 2021 season.
It’s a stretch the 13-3 Terps will look to recover and reload from as their season continues.
“I feel like we never really got a lot of time to focus on ourselves in the last two weeks,” Hughes said. “We have to take one day off per week for NCAA rules, but we’ve basically been going about 12 days straight.”
Following Maryland’s historic win over Wisconsin on Sept. 24, the Terps battled Minnesota, Penn State and Ohio State — three more elite conference opponents. Dropping each of the three contests, Hughes’ squad returned home having played high-level conference adversaries in three different states in an extremely tight window.
[Maryland volleyball stumbles, swept by No. 8 Ohio State, 3-0]
For star outside hitter Sam Csire, learning to recuperate following the toughest stretch of Maryland’s schedule will be paramount to rekindling the team’s momentum.
“We just came off a really, really long stretch. We played 12 days with almost never an off day,” Csire said. “I think we really need to use this week to really prepare and just rest our minds and our bodies, and just get ready to play that next opponent.”
Csire, who leads the Terps’ offense in total kills, shouldered much of the offensive load over the past week.
Totaling 199 attacks in Maryland’s last four contests, Csire has been Hughes’ go-to target in the Terps’ offensive system. In Wednesday’s five-set loss to Penn State, Csire attempted 72 swings, the most by either squad that night.
“We value learning in our program, that’s one of our values,” Csire said following the loss to Ohio State. “And so we just need to learn from our losses and move on and focus on our next opponent.”
Maryland will now have extended time to learn from its defeats. Following their flurry of matches to open conference play, the Terps have six days to recover ahead of a battle with Northwestern in College Park Friday.
[Maryland volleyball hopes to rediscover old momentum against Ohio State]
This six-day layover couldn’t have come at a better time for Hughes’ squad.
Multiple Terps have dealt with nagging injuries that have forced Hughes to make last-minute lineup adjustments over the past week. Outside hitter Paula Neciporuka was sidelined against the Buckeyes with an unspecified injury Saturday, while middle blocker Cara Lewis returned to the lineup in limited fashion after being inactive for several games with an ankle injury.
With an extended rest period in order for Maryland, the Terps will look to come out stronger.
“We gotta get home, get some rest and put together a good game plan for a long week of practice where I feel like we might be able to worry about ourselves a little bit more than the way we did the last two weeks,” Hughes said.